Once upon a time, in a small village in the guts of the mountains, there lived a young girl named Lily. She was kind, gentle and at all times willing to assist others. She especially enjoyed helping her mother bake cookies for Christmas.
As Christmas Eve approached, Lily was on the brink of rejoice together with her family. She was so looking forward to a Christmas meal together with her family, exchanging gifts with family members, sitting by the hearth together with her grandfather and waiting for Santa to reach within the morning.
When all of the preparations were over and so they were about to take a seat all the way down to dinner, the phone rang.
Lily’s mom answered the phone and her eyes quickly full of tears as she looked lovingly at her daughter.
Lily felt a lump in her throat. And while she already knew what her mother was going to say, she still wasn’t prepared to listen to those words out loud—her best friend Emma’s mother had died of cancer.
Emma had been Lily’s best friend for so long as she could remember. Her mother had been sick for a lot of months and her condition was getting worse. She knew it was late, but everyone hoped she would survive Christmas.
Her passing on Christmas Eve was particularly devastating, even when not entirely unexpected.
Lily was heartbroken over her friend and knew she needed support and luxury. Without hesitation, she asked her family if she could visit Emma on Christmas Eve. Her parents and siblings understood her desire to assist their friend and agreed to let her go.
Lily wrapped herself in her warmest coat and set off through the snowy streets. When she got to Emma’s house, she found Emma and her father sitting by the hearth, looking lost and lonely. “Lily, I’m so glad you are here,” Emma said, wrapping her arms round her. “I felt so lonely without my mom.”
Lily hugged Emma tight and did her best to supply words of encouragement. She told Emma that she was not alone and that she had individuals who cared about her and desired to help her. Together they spent the remaining of the day sitting quietly, talking, crying and remembering Emma’s mother.
As evening became night, Emma’s father thanked Lily for coming. Her presence was a present to the family, but time was running out.
“Lily, you are Emma’s true friend,” he said. “But I’m afraid you may miss out on Santa’s presents when you stay longer.”
But Lily didn’t care about presents anymore. She knew Emma needed her greater than anything and was determined to remain by her side so long as mandatory.
As they sat by the hearth, talking and laughing, Lily saw a weight lift from Emma’s shoulders. And she knew she made the best decision.
When it was time for Lily to return home, Emma and her father warmly thanked her. “Lily, you might be the very best friend anyone could ask for,” Emma said. “Thank you for being here for me.”
“I’m just glad I could help,” Lily said with a smile. “Merry Christmas, Emma. I really like you.”
Walking home through the quiet, snow-covered streets, Lily heard a church bell chime in the gap. The sound filled her with a way of peace and luxury, and he or she knew that somebody more necessary than Santa Claus was watching over her that night and smiling at her.
And as she fell asleep that night dreaming of a greater future for Emma, Lily knew that the true joy of Christmas was not in receiving gifts, but in giving love and support to those that needed it most.